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Time to Gear Up for NaNoWriMo 2011

Time to Gear Up for NaNoWriMo 2011

    National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for all you crazy kids, starts today. Mike wrote yesterday about how to be mentally ready for NaNoWriMo, giving you the mindset to succeed. But what about the tools? Here is what gear you can use to get your 50k words down this November.

    The Shortlist

    Here are some of the great writing tools that I can’t recommend enough. These include tools for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.

    Evernote

    Evernote is the much-loved ubiquitous note taking, writing, and personal memory database tool that is used by millions on almost all platforms. Hell, they even have a version for the dying WebOS.

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    Anyways, Evernote provides the user with reliable syncing and ways for you to save photos and even voice notes to keep you going when writing this month.

    Simplenote

    If you don’t like the rich text-ness of Evernote, then Simplenote may be the tool for you to use this month. Simplenote is a plain text syncing service that can be used on the web, iOS, and Android. You can create any number of notes and tag them. Pretty simple.

    My only gripe is no “offline” access like you get with Evernote on the desktop.

    Text files coupled with Dropbox

    This has been my staple way of doing things for the last year or so on my iOS devices, Mac, Windows, and even sometimes Android. Basically using a simple text editor that allows access to a folder or set of folders in your Dropbox account.

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    So get yourself a Dropbox account (as if you don’t already have one) and try out one of these great plain text editing apps:

    Mac: Notational Velocity, NValt, BBEdit, TextWrangler, WriteRoom, Coda, Byword, iA Writer, macvim, TextEdit

    Windows: Notepad++, TextPad, E Text Editor, UltraEdit, Sublime Text 2, vim

    iOS: Elements, Notesy, PlainText, Nebulous Notes

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    Android: Epistle, Simple Notepad

    Scrivener

    And of course we can’t forget about using Scrivener, one of the best tools for planning, researching, and constructing long documents. Scrivener was first available only for Mac, but now you can get yourself a Windows copy (currently in beta). Scrivener is probably the tool that I will be using starting my 50k word journey tomorrow.

    Nice thing about Scrivener is that if you download it tomorrow you can get a 30 day trial which is just enough time to finish your work. As an added bonus, Literature and Latte (the company that makes Scrivener) will offer all NaNoWriMo “Winners” a 50% discount after they complete their 50k words. Nice touch.

    Tactical Tools

    So, you got your favorite text editor now and our ready to type your way to 50k. But, NaNoWrimo isn’t all about just text editors and typing. You need to have some strategies to complete your novel.

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    Timers

    Sometimes one of the best ways to hunker down and get some writing done is promising yourself to write for a certain amount of time. You can use some timers to keep track of your time and also force yourself to write.

    Probably one of the best ones is the free Adobe Air app focus booster because of its ease of use and simple interface. You can even try out focus booster – live if you don’t want to download anything. It is more of a Pomodoro technique tool, but you don’t have to buy into that idea to get some utility out of it.

    Reminders and motivation

    I am a huge fan of the site 750words.com and have used it over the past few months for motivation in writing. If you are in the NaNoWriMo running you will have to write 1667 words per day to get to your 50k. Having a site like 750words send you email nudges as well as a running word count at the bottom of your daily writing can definitely keep you motivated.

    Also, if you are feeling like your plot is running out of steam or that there is no way in hell that you can make it, you can always check out the NaNoWriMo forums for some inspiration. There is nothing better than looking through the forums and reading what some of these intelligent writers do to stay motivated and on point. And, if you have any advice to give to struggling writers, this is a good place to do it.

    So, good luck in your 50k word adventure this November. Remember, there is no such thing as writer’s block. Keep your fingers moving and use some of the tips and tricks that we have provided you to make your way through this year’s NaNoWriMo.

    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever

    How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever

    Achieving personal goals deserves a huge amount of celebration but setting these goals in the first place is a massive achievement in itself.

    While the big goals serve as a destination, the journey is probably the most important part of the process. It reflects your progress, your growth and your ability take control and steer your life towards positive change.

    Whatever your goal is, whether it’s losing 20lbs or learning a new language, there will always be a set amount of steps you need to take in order to achieve it. Once you’ve set your sights on your goal, the next stage is to take an assertive path towards how you will get there.

    The aim of this article is to guide you through how to take action towards your personal goals in a way that will help you achieve them strategically and successfully.

    1. Get very specific

    When it comes to setting your personal goals, honing in on its specifics is crucial for success.

    It’s common to have a broad idea of where you want to go or what you want to achieve, but this can sabotage your efforts in the long run.

    Get clear on what you want your goal to look like so you can create solid steps towards it.

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    Say you have a vision on retiring early. This goal feels good to you and you can envision filling your days of work-free life with worldly adventures and time with loved ones.

    If retiring early is a serious personal goal for you, you will need to insert a timeframe. So your goal has changed from “I’d like to someday retire early and travel the world” to “I’m going to retire by 50 and travel the world”.

    It may not seem significant, but creating this tweak in your goal by specifying a definite time, will help create and structure the steps needed to achieve it in a more purposeful way.

    2. Identify the preparation you need to achieve your goal

    It’s easy to set a goal and excitedly, yet aimlessly move towards it. But this way of going about achieving goals will only leave you eventually lost and feeling like you’ll never achieve it.

    You have to really think about what you need to do in order to make this goal possible. It’s all very well wanting it to happen, but if you just sit back and hope you’ll get there one day will result in disappointment.

    Self-managing your goals is a crucial step in the process. This involves taking control of your goal, owning it and making sure you are in a great position to make it happen.

    In the early retirement example, this would mean you will need to think about your financial situation.

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    What will your finances ideally need to look like if you were to retire early and travel the world? How much money will you need to put into your retirement fund to retire at 50? How much extra savings will you need to support your travels? You could also start researching the places you’d like to travel to and how long you’d like to travel for.

    Outlining these factors will, not only make your goal seem more tangible, but also create a mind shift to one of forward motion. Seeing the steps more clearly will help you make a more useful plan of action and seeing your goal as a reality.

    3. Breakdown each step into more manageable goals

    The secret to achieving your goals is to create smaller goals within each step and take action. Remember, you’re looking for progress, no matter how small it may seem.

    These small steps build up and get you to the top. By doing this, you also make the whole process much less daunting and overwhelming.

    In the early retirement scenario, there are several smaller goals you could implement here:

    • Decide to make an appointment with a financial advisor asking what financial options would be available to you if you were to go into early retirement and travel. Get advice on how much you would need to top up your funds in order to reach your goal on time.
    • Set up and start to make payments into the retirement fund.
    • Research savings accounts with good rates of interest and commit to depositing a certain amount each month.
    • Make sure you meet with your financial advisor each year to make sure your retirement plan remains the best one for you. Research new savings accounts to move your money into to reap the best returns in interest rates.
    • Start investing in travel books, building up a library that covers where you want to go.
    • Think about starting a language course that will help you get the most out of your travel experience.

    4. Get started on the journey

    Creating a goal planner in which you can start writing down your next steps is where the magic happens. This is where the real momentum towards your dream starts!

    Create a schedule and start by writing in when you will start the first task and on which day. Commit to completing this small task and feel the joy of crossing it off your list. Do this with every little step until your first mini goal has been reached.

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    In the early retirement example, schedule in a meeting with a financial advisor. That’s it. Easy.

    As I mentioned before, it may seem such a small step but it’s the momentum that’s the most important element here. Once you cross this off, you can focus on the meeting itself, then once that’s ticked off, you are in a position of starting a profitable retirement fund…and so the momentum continues. You are now on your journey to achieving your dream goal.

    5. Create an annual review

    Taking a step back and reviewing your progress is essential for keeping yourself on the right track. Sometimes you can be moving full steam ahead towards your goal but miss seeing the opportunities to improve a process or even re-evaluate your feelings towards the goal.

    Nominate a day each year to sit down and take a look at your progress. Celebrate your achievements and how far you’ve come. But also think about changing any of the remaining steps in light of new circumstances.

    Has anything changed? Perhaps you got a promotion at work and you feel you can add more to your monthly savings.

    Do you still feel the same about your goal? It’s normal for our desires to change over time and our personal goals need to reflect this.

    Perhaps you’d like to take someone new with you on your travels and you need to take this into account regarding timelines. Are there any new steps you want to add as a result?

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    Remember, reflection is a useful tool in realigning your goal to any changes and it’s important to keep on the right trajectory towards it.

    Strive to become the best goal-setter you can be

    Having personal goals gives you purpose and the feeling of becoming a better version of yourself.

    But it’s the smaller steps within these big goals that the growth and achievement really lies:

    • Whatever your goal is, make sure you get specific on when you want to achieve it. This helps you focus on the necessary steps much more efficiently.
    • Research the actionable steps required to get to the end result and…
    • Break these down into smaller, manageable goals.
    • Create a daily or weekly schedule for these smaller goals and start the positive momentum.
    • Reflect each year on your goal journey and purpose, readjusting steps according to changes in circumstance or desire.

    Keep going and always have the end goal in sight. Remember the ‘why’ behind your goal throughout to keep you motivated and positive.

    More Resources About Setting & Achieving Goals

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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